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PRETENSE, noun pretens'. [Latin proetensus, proetendo.]

1. A holding out or offering to others something false or feigned; a presenting to others, either in words or actions, a false or hypocritical appearance, usually with a view to conceal what is real, and thus to deceive. Under pretense of giving liberty to nations, the prince conquered and enslaved them. Under pretense of patriotism, ambitious men serve their own selfish purposes.

Let not Trojans, with a feigned pretense

Of proffer'd peace, delude the Latian prince.

It is sometimes preceded by on; as on pretense of revenging Caesar's death.

2. Assumption; claim to notice.

Never was any thing of this pretense more ingeniously imparted.

3. Claim, true or false.

Primogeniture cannot have any pretense to a right of solely inheriting property or power.

4. Something held out to terrify or for other purpose; as a pretense of danger.